The silent reading fluency is not an observable behaviour and, therefore, its evaluation is perceived as more challenging and less reliable than oral reading fluency. The present research is aimed to measure the silent reading speed in a sample of proficient students, assessed by an original silent reading fluency task, based on behavioural indicators of the silent reading speed. A total of 325 high school and university skilled students (age range 14–23 years) have been assessed using 3 tasks aimed to evaluate the oral reading speed (lists of words, lists of pseudowords and narrative text) and one task aimed to measure the silent reading speed. The average silent reading speed in our sample was around 12.5 syll/sec, almost double than the oral reading speed rate. The silent reading speed had an increase from 9.13 to 12.38 syll/sec from the first year of high school (ninth grade) to the fifth year of University. Conversely, the oral reading speed remained substantially unchanged for the entire academic course. Our results showed that the reading fluency in silent mode tends to increase up to the last years of University and it may be considered the most rapid and efficient reading mode. This study highlights the importance of including both silent and oral reading modes in the assessment of the older students and young adults, since silent reading is the main reading mode for proficient readers.
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Ciuffo, M., Myers, J., Ingrassia, M. et al. How fast can we read in the mind? Developmental trajectories of silent reading fluency. Read Writ 30, 1667–1686 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-017-9744-2